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How do muscles get the energy they need for athletic activity?

ATP in muscle cells

In this analysis and discussion activity, students learn how muscle cells produce ATP by aerobic cellular respiration, anaerobic fermentation, and hydrolysis of creatine phosphate. They analyze the varying contributions of these three processes to ATP production during athletic activities of varying intensity and duration.

Students learn how multiple body systems work together to supply the oxygen and glucose needed for aerobic cellular respiration.

Finally, students use what they have learned to analyze how athletic performance is improved by the body changes that result from regular aerobic exercise.

The Student Handout is available in the first two attached files and as a Google doc designed for use in distance learning and online instruction. The Teacher Notes, available in the last two attached files, provide instructional suggestions and background information and explain how this activity is aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards.

energy sports SHO.docx2.45 MB
energy sports SHO.pdf542.71 KB
energy sports TN.docx1.74 MB
energy sports TN.pdf509.45 KB


iwaldron's picture

2020 revision

The revised Student Handout has expanded and clearer sections on “How Oxygen and Glucose Get to the Muscles” and “How Regular Aerobic Exercise Can Improve Athletic Performance”. Additional revisions have clarified the Student Handout and Teacher Notes.

iwaldron's picture

2018 revision

In the 2018 revision, I have reorganized and revised the Student Handout to build understanding in a more logical sequence, reduce redundancy with other learning activities, and focus more on basic phenomena.

Jordan Johnson's picture

Biology Class (High School)

I am a special education teacher at Pikeville High School in Pikeville, KY. I am so happy and excited that I am able to use this lesson to help the entire learn about the practical nature of Biology. I appreciate the ability to use this lesson and how well it was designed for students from multiple viewpoints.

iwaldron's picture

Thanks for your encouraging feedback!

It is always good to learn about how our activities are helpful to teachers.


iwaldron's picture

2016 revision

This activity has been revised to improve clarity of the Student Handout and accuracy of the descriptions of chemical energy and energy metabolism.

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